In light of the Hollywood/Harvey Weinstein insanity, so many women are stepping forward to bring awareness of how bad sexual harassment/assault is in the workplace. I wanted to share my stories here, since I really don't have a platform and else.
It has happened to me three times that I can remember. I consider myself an average-looking person, easily forgotten, a social wallflower, nothing about me that just screams 'cute', 'flirty', or 'I-need-to-hit-that able'. This statement isn't to make people think I'm looking for a pity party or a desire for compliments. That point was to point out how bad this harassment is, and how I could only imagine how it gets so much worse for others.
One happened while I worked at a rock climbing gym. I had worked at this gym several years prior, with my dad, and under different ownership. I went back for a little bit of extra money, and hopefully get some exercise in a form that I enjoyed again. When my boyfriend of the time had gone out of the country for 3 weeks for some college experience, one of the new owners of the gym asked if I was going to 'step out' on the boyfriend. When I point-blank said no, he continued to ask questions, like, 'how can you hold out for that long?' He didn't stop there. I remember meetings when he'd sit on the arm of a couch right next to me, when so many options were available. I remember it was not long after that he dismissed me from the gym, but in truth, I was going to leave anyways. I never even picked up my last paycheck from there because I didn't want to deal with that man.
Another happened when I worked in retail. During the holidays, we'd have police officers walk with the bookkeepers while we gathered the till. One of the regulars was an older officer, probably not far from retirement age, and his wife was one of my coworkers. I enjoyed talking to him. He was lively and friendly, and a gentleman. Or so I thought. One time, while his wife was out of town, he invited me to his house to 'hang out' in the hot tub. Even though I was naive, I was appalled that he would dare invite a female over to his home when his wife was out of town. If I had been more gullible and something had happened, it would have been my word against his. That's a frightening thought.
The last one was the most bizarre. When I worked at a vet (apparently I have had a lot of jobs), I had a co-worker that found joy in running HER finger up my butt crack (over my scrubs, which most know has no thickness). Anytime she walked by me, she'd do it. She loved my reaction, but obviously didn't care about the discomfort she caused me. It got to the point that whenever I saw her, I'd back myself into the wall to wait for her to leave. I never said anything to 'spare her the embarrassment', but it was so uncomfortable.
Now, as a mother, I would encourage my daughter to stand up for herself if she was ever in a situation like these. Call the people out. Embarrass them if needed. But as a woman, she, nor anyone else, should have to face such discomfort in any environment. Do not think that you are only worthy if you are a sexual object. Do not feel that the other person's self-worth is more important than your own.
I hope that this will no longer be a fight we have to take on when my daughter is old enough to understand what #metoo means.